Late night dining in Aucklandby Leisha Jones
Whether you’re refuelling after an evening out on the lash, you work odd hours, or you’re accustomed to a more continental lifestyle, these 10 restaurants, with kitchens open after midnight, are for you.
We love The Fed any time of the day for its interpretation of classic Jewish deli food. It’s fun, fast-paced and always satisfying. On Friday and Saturday nights, the kitchen stays open until 1am with an edited selection of dishes that are well worth waiting for (the menu changes over at 11pm). The buffalo wings, only available on the late-night menu, are fried crispy before being doused in Frank’s extra-hot sauce and served with a refreshing blue-cheese ranch dip that acts as a cooling balm against the heat of the wings. If you’re a pickle enthusiast, don’t go past the Pickle Martini, with vodka, celery syrup, pickle juice and vermouth. Or try The Perky: chilled filter coffee shaken with vodka, Tuaca and maple syrup, providing a caffeine and alcohol hit in one fell swoop.
86 Federal St, central city
The guys behind Karangahape Road cocktail lounge 69 know what it’s like when you clock off work and there’s nowhere to get something decent to eat. That’s why they offer a full menu right up until closing time (3am), serving everything from steak and shellfish to moreish fried snacks (such as deep-fried gnocchi and schnitzel). For us the hotdogs are the real winner, served on buttery potato brioche buns and filled with gourmet sausages and exotic toppings. The crowd is a colourful, relaxed mix of friendly people. Even on Friday and Saturday nights when surrounding bars are teeming with drunkards, the customers at 69 remain chill and the table service attentive.
375 Karangahape Rd
The U-shaped layout of the bar-style seating at Ichiban means it isn’t really suitable for groups any larger than three. Everybody here is either in a couple, or a lone straggler dipping in for a quick bite, staring out at the street, into the kitchen, or at the screen of their phones. People come here for the ramen, but there’s also a selection of appetisers, rice bowls and Japanese curries. Broth can be ordered on a 1-5 scale of spiciness: our favourite is the Ichiban chashu ramen with a deep and garlicky miso broth, topped with corn and delicate slices of roasted pork.
17 Albert St, central city
If you ever find yourself with a hankering for dumplings at 3am, Flavour House is the spot for you. The service is swift and people come and go constantly – some stare forlornly at the TV on the wall, while others are in, out and back on the streets in record time.All the usual suspects from a Chinese menu can be found here, with a focus on dishes from Northeast China. You’ll find dumplings, rice and noodle dishes, a dazzling array of offal and sizzling hotplates that slick the inside of the windows with steam. But the real gems here sit on the handwritten specials board: ginger fried crab; fried kim chi pork belly, and roast duck dumplings.
614 Dominion Rd, Balmoral
Little Turkish cafe
The Little Turkish Cafe is a cut above the other kebab shops scattered throughout the city centre. They make their own bread and sauces, the meat and salads are fresh, and as a bonus, they have a fully stocked bar with cheap beers. There’s a woodfired oven and the pizzas aren’t bad, but we recommend the kebabs – they’re served on house-made Turkish pide, and its texture makes the kebabs feel more like a sandwich than a wrap. Its proximity to Wine Cellar, Whammy, Bar and Neck of the Woods makes it
a great option for a midnight snack after a night on the sauce.
217 Karangahape Rd, central city
MORE NIGHT BITES
Haven’t sat on an upturned milk crate outside The White Lady, proclaiming “This is the best burger I’ve eaten in my life!”? Then you really haven’t lived. Even if it’s not truly the best burger you’ve ever had, you’ve likely had a great night, you’re starving, and in that moment, the home-cooked comfort from the gleaming white van is the best thing ever. Corner Commerce Street & Fort Street
18 Commerce St, central city Spicy House is a no-frills, brightly lit shrine to spicy food that’s open until 4am and has garnered something of a cult-like following. As the name suggests, you’ll find plenty of heat on the menu. Try the chilli chicken: it’s crispy, salty and spicy. Good times. 557 Dominion Rd, Balmoral
Ponsonby Road’s Boy and Bird is under new ownership and with that comes a plan to stay open until 2am on Friday nights, from November 25. The reduced menu will consist of free-range birds, filled rolls, fried chicken and sides – a far better option than KFC. 222 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
Ascending the stairs to Ellice Road, you’ll find yourself in another world, surrounded by Americana kitsch, pool tables, darts and pinball machines. There’s an extensive offering of craft beer, the food is on theme – wings, burgers, jalapeno poppers, nachos, corn dogs – and it’s open till 1am Thursday to Saturday. 57 Albert St, central city
If you’re really in a pickle, the inner-city Denny’s is open 24 hours. The scene at 4am can be a little grim, but the novelty factor of being able to order a Grandslam Breakfast, club sandwich or ice-cream sundae at this hour is high. And remember, you can dine for free on your birthday! 51 Hobson St, central city
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